At the start of the year I became aware of Alchemic Writing’s Weekly Writing Prompts and now every Wednesday I get a brief email with a little creative spark or prompt or a picture or a challenge. I should backtrack. Alchemic Writing is run by Morgan, adventuring companion of my good friend Suzanna – they even wrote a book together.
Anyway, these writing prompts have been lighting up my inbox every Wednesday since the new year. However much or little time I have to actually spend responding to the tasks, it’s great to have a little trigger to start a different kind of thought, something entering my brain from a different angle.
Professional feedback on a piece of work is a valuable thing. I saw something about Harriet Kline’s Charity Short Story Critiques, probably on Short Stops, I think. It sounded like a good deal – advice in exchange for charitable contributions. I checked out some of Harriet’s work to make sure I wouldn’t be getting advice from someone who’s writing I didn’t like (because that always seems slightly counter-intuitive) and really enjoyed her story Earth Blood, so I signed up.
For the critique, I picked out a piece I wrote a few years ago and didn’t really know what to do with – a story I liked, but felt it was a bit unwieldy and maybe a bit strange – and emailed it to her. A couple of weeks later, I received a fantastic little document with a breakdown of various things I could do to make it stronger – all really good constructive notes which I have stored up for when I re-work that piece.
Because I like finding new and interesting writing and because I like seeing different ways of getting great work out there, I have joined the Galley Beggar Press Singles Club, which means I receive a short piece of writing every month or so, in a file which I can load to my electronic reading device.
The first single I sampled from Galley Beggar Press was Mud by Chris McCabe, a strange wee tale about a couple searching for a cubic centimetre of air in mud. One of them is a wizard and they are followed by a TV crew. As bewildering as it is funny and smart, I enjoyed it’s strange tone and devilish abandon.
I’ve signed up to GoodReads and by dint of my competition placing a couple of years ago have managed to wangle myself a GoodReads Author page, with a terrifying ‘Ask the author’ feature which thankfully no one has utilized thus far. Anyway, I know it will be really interesting to follow what I’m reading and any reviews I post up there, so fill your flip-flops.